Huli Creation Myth

A compilation of sources were used to create this rendition of the Huli creation myth: R. Glasse, “The Huli”, p. 33; G. Lomas, Amongst the Huli; private correspondence of Paul Farkas in Papuan Letters 7 (1960), p. 21; and private correspondence from Howard Halu, April 1983.

In the beginning, there was land and the deities. Honabe, a female deity, was the first inhabitant of the land. She cooked her food by the heat of her own genitals. Honabe was seduced by a male deity, Timbu, and gave birth to five male deities: Kormogo, Helabe, Piandela, Ni and Helahuli.; and one female deity, Hana. After a time, seven more deities, hills, trees, fire and water, the first bird, possum and pig, and bows and arrows issued forth from Honabe’s menstrual discharge.

When the deity Helahuli matured, he married an unknown women who bore him four sons, Duguba, Duna, Huli and Obene. The four brothers had a fight which resulted in Duguba fleeing to live in the Mount Bosavi area. Huli then sent Obene to the Margarima area and Duna to the Lake Kopiago area, while he remained in the Tagari river basin. Thus, the first humans, four brothers, settled all over the world to start their families.

Now Huli begot many children to a woman from the Mount Bosavi area and settled in the Tagari river basin near Burani to cultivate taro. A woman taught him how to build houses and to use the bow and arrow.

Several generations later, the rain ceased, the ground dried out to a powder, and the rivers had practically disappeared. The Tagari river still had some deep pools of water with fish in them. All the people were hungry because the crops were baked in the sun. So they all went to the Tagari river to catch as many fish as they could. All the Huli people were trying to catch fish when the river suddenly flooded killing every living thing: men, birds, possums, everything. The whole land was empty. When the flood waters subsided the deities recreated birds and possums, and they in turn gave birth to human progeny, the founders of the present clans.